PC shopping can be a difficult thing to do, and it should be. Using your money
TomsHardware CPU comparisons
To get started, I highly recommend taking a look at TomsHardware. His quarterly CPU comparisons show you how each of the quarter's most popular CPUs stack up against each other. Even more
incredible is that he has found the lowest price for each CPU at the time of creating the graph of CPU comparisons. It's a very reputable site that also has a wealth of information for anyone interested in learning more about how the computer and the computer industry is evolving.
If you are looking for computers with older processors or newer processors not listed, you may have to look elsewhere. For these purposes, I recommend using the free computer benchmark data at PassMark's CPUBenchmark.net. The graphs are updated and uploaded from users who use the software. About every CPU known to man is located on the graphs. They split the CPUs into high-end, medium-end, and low-end, as well as a graph for the currently popular CPUs. Please note that the data is coming from a variety of computers, and other hardware in the computer can skew the performance of the CPU. For this reason, you should follow the final step before making your final purchase.
Do some of your own research
Perhaps the best CPU comparsion you can draw, however, is from a simple search. After looking at both TomsHardware and CPUBenchmark.net, look at the CPUs in the price range you can afford, and then do a comparison search for them in your favorite search engine. For instance, if I wanted to compare the Intel Core 2 Quad 8300 and the AMD Athlon II X4 620, I would type "core 2 quad q8300 vs. amd athlon ii x4 620". I immediately have a bunch of results, and can read through the various tech blogs and forums for more detailed CPU comparisons and discussion before I make my decision.
It is my hope that you can see the value in CPU benchmarking. Buying computers based on price or brand alone is a horrible choice that can lead to more frequent trips for
upgrades or new computers. Use free CPU benchmark graphs and draw CPU comparisons to make every dollar give you the best and most enduring performance for your computing needs.